Karnataka Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Pilot Project: Our work with adolescent girls

Adolescent girls between the age 11-18 years are among the beneficiary category selected for nutrition pilot project. As part of the project, around 16000 adolescent girls are registered with the project in the blocks of Devadurga and Chincholi in the districts of Raichur and Gulbarga respectively. The project goal is to: reduce malnutrition among adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 18 years through sustainable inter-sectoral and intergenerational approach among poorest of the poor population while also bringing about behavioral change. The methodology adopted to achieve the goals are:

  • Improving the availability and accessibility of Fortified Blended Food (FBF) using local community structures
  • Improving the consumption of nutritious food by the target groups within family budgets through appropriate behavioural change communication (BCC)
  • Improving linkages with existing nutrition enhancing services implemented by other social sector programmes.

Adolescent girl’s groups are formed in both the blocks to facilitate better health and nutrition outcomes. The formation of groups is facilitated by Village Nutrition Volunteers (VNVs) who are the project field workers, a key resource of the village overseeing project activities, working with the community and its structures. A total of 549 and 553 adolescent groups have been formed since the inception in Devadurga and Chincholi respectively.

Activities of the groups:

The group meets every month and a meeting is held in the presence of the VNV and the respective supervisor. The meeting is conducted with the aim of spreading awareness about various aspects concerned with their health and wellbeing. The topics of discussion include: use of safe drinking water, handwashing, use of sanitary napkins, importance of IFA and de-worming tablets, importance of using toilet and nutritive value of FBF as well as consumption of nutrient dense food locally available within family budget. The meeting is usually concluded by involving them in sports and other talent oriented activities to build their confidence. The VNS and VNVs are now regularly invited by the school head masters and senior teachers for school programs.

Voices from field:

After attending the AG group meeting, I realized the importance of using toilet. I compelled my parents to get the toilet constructed and now we have a toilet in our house” – Maarikadevi Gajjebaavi, Devadurga taluk, Raichur district

I was absolutely unaware about my personal hygiene until I learned about it in the AG meeting. Earlier I was using cloth during my period, but now I use suchi pads which is provided to me in the school. I was also told about importance of safe drinking water and I asked my parents to construct a platform to keep the water pot. Additionally, now we purify water by straining before drinking. I also started using footwear for all outdoor activities. Now I fall sick less often after changing my habits” – Manjula Megharaj, Mookanayaka tanda, Devadurga, Raichur district

Earlier there were no group meeting held exclusively for AGs in my village. Now there is AG meeting held regularly and they have taught me about importance of IFA tablets and personal hygiene. I get my tablets from anaganwadi where earlier it was not available but after I insisted now they are supplying” – Sharanamma, Peer Nayak tanda, Devadurga, Raichur district

In AG meeting we can openly discuss about our problems and also find solutions. I get to know about the various developmental changes in my body. I also got to know about using and disposal of Suchi pads” – Ambika, Ganganapalli, Chincholi, Gulabrga district

The AG group meeting is so much fun and also informative. We are allowed to play games, sing and dance. The VNV and VNS give us useful information. I enjoy participating with all my friends” – Preethi, Koradampalli, Chincholi, Gulabrga district

My marriage was fixed. But after attending AG group meeting, I understood about the problems I would face if I got married at an early age. Now I have asked my parents to cancel the wedding” – Nagashree, Kotaga, Chincholi, Gulabrga district